Recipe: Mexican Mole

Before we get into making mole (pronounced “moh-layh”), lets first take a quick look at how it came about. It is believed that mole came from pre-Hispanic times and that Moctezuma, king of the Aztecs served mole to Cortez. The dating of the origin of mole has credibility because the word “mole” comes from the Nahuatl (name of the Aztec language) word “milli” which means “sauce” or “concoction.” Additionally, chocolate was widely used in pre-Columbian Mexico and plays an important part in the recipe.

All moles take a lot of time to create and require many ingredients. It is not uncommon for some varieties of mole to have upward of two dozen ingredients and as many as ten varieties of chili peppers.

Here is a more typical version of mole, one of the most popular and well-preserved pre-Hispanic recipes.


  • 3 cups (710 mL) chicken broth
  • 2 dried guajillo chilis, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 dried ancho chilis, stemmed and seeded
  • 3 dried chipotle chilis, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 dinner roll, torn into pieces
  • 2 corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) strips
  • 2 tomatoes, cut in half
  • 5 tomatillos, cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) lard
  • 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • ½ head garlic, peeled and sliced
  • ⅓ cup (80 g) chopped peanuts
  • ¼ cup (60 g) raisins
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) dried thyme
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 6 whole allspice berries
  • 5 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons (45 g) white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) salt


  • Toast all three varieties of chili in a dry pan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until warm; about 3 minutes. Transfer to a blender.
  • Simmer 2 cups (475 mL) of chicken broth in a saucepan; about 5 minutes. Pour broth into the blender that has the chilies.
  • Toast pieces of dinner roll and tortilla in a dry pan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until lightly browned; about 3 minutes. Add to blender.
  • Allow chilies, toasted bread and tortillas to soak in chicken broth until softened; about 10 minutes. Blend until smooth.
  • Cook tomatoes and tomatillos in a skillet on medium-high heat until blackened; about 4 minutes per side. Place tomatoes in blender.
  • Warm lard in a large skillet over medium heat until melted. Then stir in onion, garlic, peanuts, raisins, cumin seeds, thyme, cinnamon sticks, cloves and allspice berries.
  • Cook and stir until onions are soft and golden; 6-7 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks and whole spices. Add onion mixture to blender and blend until smooth.
  • Pour chili puree into a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in chocolate, remaining chicken broth, sugar and salt. Bring mixture to a simmer; stir until chocolate melts and sauce is thickened; 10-15 minutes.
  • Serve as a dip or pour over a portion of the meal, as a sauce. Enjoy!

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